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Thread: San Juans

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Port Hadlock, WA
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    1,690

    Default San Juans

    Anyone been up there lately?
    I'm planning to cruise the state parks next week, ideally hitting docks.
    I'll be taking my 19' Bartender. I have plenty of range to get to Friday Harbor for a refuel, but am limited to docks. If they're full I could run an anchor buddy to spring off shore. It definitely sucks jumping on and off the bow of this boat though.

    Current thought is James Island as a first stop, with Jones as a backup if its full. I'd like to hit James, Jones, Matia, and Sucia at least.

    I haven't been up there in.. 10+ years? Always in a beachable or boat with a dinghy in the past.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    La Conner, WA
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: San Juans

    Right now with the Border closed, the anchorages are all over run with boats. Don’t know how slips are at Friday Harbor, Roche, but Jones, Stuart and other Parks docks must be rafted across the bay.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: San Juans

    I don't think it's that crowded. I've been up four times this year and it has been busier every time, but still less crowded than normal. I tend to avoid the middle and usually go North of Orcas. I haven't been ashore anywhere but the parks, so don't know what the reception would be like.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lynden, Wa
    Posts
    3,673

    Default Re: San Juans

    Whats stopping you from ordinary anchoring, or using mooring balls? No room for a dinghy? An inflatable kayak would make life a lot easier.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

    15' Welsford Navigator Inconceivable
    16' W. Simmons Mattinicus double ender ​Matty

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Bellingham, Washington USA
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: San Juans

    I also have a Bartender. A stretched 19'. One advantage with the outboard version you can raise the motor up for beaching. Climbing off and on is not to bad. Like you say, you may need to use the anchor buddy system if you want to leave the boat unattended for awhile. IMG_20200614_180300362_HDR.jpg
    "I see!" said the blind man who picked up his hammer and saw.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ballard
    Posts
    8,475

    Default Re: San Juans

    Quote Originally Posted by BBSebens View Post
    Whats stopping you from ordinary anchoring, or using mooring balls? No room for a dinghy? An inflatable kayak would make life a lot easier.
    What Mr. Sebens said. I see lots of inflatable paddleboards too as dinghies these days.

    For anchoring, you ought to have ground tackle anyways if you're headed out. I'd just go and figure it out once you're there. Lots of places to anchor, lots of shore access if you have a way to get to shore.

    At docks, I do see people rafted now and again. If you're friendly and you have a pretty boat people will work with you. If they won't or are ornery about it, then they're probably no one you'd want to raft with anyways.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: San Juans

    The Mantus anchor works well around here. They are affordable and available. I use the 13 lb model with just a short length of chain on a boat with similar weight and windage to a Bartender, but bigger would penetrate the areas with kelp better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Port Hadlock, WA
    Posts
    1,690

    Default Re: San Juans

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I have a 12lb bruce anchor with chain and plenty of line, plus the anchor buddy. My last experience trying to set it up didnt work very well, but it was a crowded area with a bunch of moorings around. Combined with an offshore breeze I wasn't having a good time.

    I've had my eye on a bigger Mantus for peace of mind.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Port Hadlock, WA
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    1,690

    Default Re: San Juans

    sanjuantrip.jpg
    Had a good 3 day trip to the islands.

    Left Port Townsend in the morning and headed north. About 1.5 hours later we made it to James Island. Had a nice hike around the island, and a nice quiet dock. Until nightfall, when a raccoon raided the boat. I had all my food secure, but he managed to crawl back under the aft deck to get my garbage.
    IMG_20200713_113608503.jpg
    IMG_20200713_142357252_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20200713_205144586_HDR.jpg
    Next morning off to Sucia. Easy one hour motor up. I was anchored and about to rig my Anchor Buddy up when a paddle boarder came over to tell me a dock space opened up, so I lucked out there.
    IMG_20200714_141838848_HDR.jpg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Port Hadlock, WA
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    Default Re: San Juans

    IMG_20200714_150430738.jpg
    IMG_20200714_151607046_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20200714_203100753_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20200714_210756788_HDR.jpg
    Third day I planned to stay on Jones Island, but an incoming gale warning for the Straits changed my mind. I took off early to beat the weather. Ended up out in a roughly 3-4 swell. The bartender still managed 12-16 knots all the way home. I had to work the throttle pretty constantly to avoid jumping waves, and we only took spray over the bow once.
    I didn't get any pictures of the last bit there. Overall I'm pretty happy with the Bartender for cruising. An inflatable SUP would be handy, as would better mosquito proofing. Sucia was a rough night. I took 24 gallons of fuel with me, burned about 15. Average speed was 16 kts. I didn't track run time, but my mpg averaged out to about 7. Not too bad. Now I know that with good weather the San Juans are doable as a day trip or overnighter easily enough.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    St. Helens, Oregon
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    2,247

    Default Re: San Juans

    NICE! Thanks for posting those. Haven't been up there in ages!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    14,300

    Default Re: San Juans

    Ah! At last, a breath of fresh air. I haven't been up there in several years. Still stuck in the smog and virus in S. Ca. Gawd I envy you! Princess Louisa is a favorite of ours! Great oysters, shower under a waterfall! Thanks for posting this one!!
    Jay

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    northwestern Wisconsin
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    7,117

    Default Re: San Juans

    Do these photos show a fairly representative number of other boats you encounter in the San Juans?

    It's not unusual to go for more than a week at a time without seeing another boat along the routes I sail in Georgian Bay. Lovely, though--thanks for posting.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Bellingham, Washington USA
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    222

    Default Re: San Juans

    We went to Sucia and Matia from sandy point on Saturday. I never saw so many boats anchored out in Echo bay. Including 2 giant yachts one with it's own helicopter. We didn't stick around long. Had a good day except for dinging our prop on a rock trying to get out of sandy point at low tide. I did hear they are going to dredge the entrance to the canal this fall.
    "I see!" said the blind man who picked up his hammer and saw.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ballard
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    8,475

    Default Re: San Juans

    Sounds like a lovely trip. Midweek is always the best time to visit the San Juans. If I had your powerboat, I'd make a beeline to Patos (never been, never quite have the time these days to time that trip) or Stuart (good orca watching).
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Mukilteo, WA
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    3,030

    Default Re: San Juans

    Sucia is the worst mosquitoes in the San Juans for some reason. I've basically been driven from the shore in a panic on Sucia, and barely ever seen a single one on on other islands. Another good reason to anchor out, way fewer bugs than at the dock.

    Looks like a good trip, covering that kind of mileage in those short time periods boggles my mind!

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